How much does a law firm website cost?
This is not as straightforward of a question as you may think. A law firm website can cost anywhere from almost free to $80,000.
Ultimately, it depends on what is being created for the your law firm’s website and who is making it.
That said, a typical WordPress website built for a small to medium-sized law firm usually costs around $2500-$8000, though prices can go up substantially depending on the firm’s requirements.
If you’re researching this, you’re probably in the market to get a new website for your law firm. This article is going to give you an honest outline of what can go into building a website for your law firm and what you’re likely to end up spending given each option.
There are many factors that drive the cost of a website, many of which may be invaluable, but others that may not deliver the value you need. We hope this article helps you during your decision process.
The Options for Building a Website for a Law Firm
There are countless options when building a website for a law firm in 2020. From building a fully custom-coded website all the way down to a free website on a platform like Wix, there have never been more options for building a website for a law firm.
However, regardless of the option you choose, you’ll need to start by choosing a content management system (CMS).
Your Content Management System Will Drive Much of Your Law Firm’s Website Cost
Open-source options such as WordPress are attractive because they offer both flexibility in what they can do. It’s also free.
WordPress is by far the most common CMS on the web, powering over 35% of websites. There are many developers out there that work with WordPress, making them less expensive to hire than developers specialized in other options such as Drupal, Sitecore, or .NET.
WordPress is used for law firm websites owned by both large and small firms. I’ve never seen a study on the topic, but anecdotally, I’d say 4 of every 5 law firm websites are built using WordPress.
If you don’t have any special requirements for your CMS, there’s little reason for you to use another CMS.
Other content management systems such as .NET or Sitecore can also provide this flexibility, but tend to be more expensive. .NET is used by a few of the larger web design firms that cater to law firms, and these websites tend to be much more expensive than websites built on WordPress.
Custom Content Management Systems
Finally, a law firm website can also have a custom content management system built, which will provide ultimate flexibility but will add tens of thousands of dollars to a project. There are firms that spend money on developing custom CMSs for their website, but I’ve never actually understood the cost/benefit.
Your Layout Will Drive Cost as Well
Once you’ve chosen a content management system, you’ll get into the fun part of building a website—the design.
What sets the physical appearance of your website will be a large determining factor of how much your law firm’s website will cost. Let’s take a look at the various options:
Using a Template For Your Website
There are website templates available for almost every content management system out there. The great thing about them is that they take much less time to complete, so they cost less than any custom work does, but you’re limited in your options for customization.
Think of a template website like a modular home. Each part is where it is, but you can change the colors, text, and images to match your law firm’s brand.
It typically costs around $40-$100 to buy a WordPress template. Once you’ve purchased the template, you’ll need someone to customize it. Most website developers cost anywhere from $75/hr to $200/hr.
So how many hours does it take to customize a template?
It all depends. If you decide to use a template for your website, the cost will be determined by the amount of customization you want and the number of pages. If you’re simply changing text, fonts, colors, and pictures, the rule of thumb at Sagapixel is that each page will take 2-3 hours.
You can do the math yourself. Most of the template WordPress websites we build for law firms cost around $1200-$1800. Paperstreet charges $3000-$5000 for template websites. I’m sure if you shop around, you’ll get quotes for template websites even higher than that, but most template law firm websites cost $1k-$4k.
Typically, template websites can work just fine for a sole practitioner that isn’t picky about the layout of the website. If you think you’re going to want customization like putting that element here vs. there, making the hero section taller or shorter, or any major changes to how the template demo looked, it’s probably not the option for you.
Designing a Custom Layout For Your Law Firm
Designing a custom layout for a new website always involves rounds of revisions, back and forth between client and UX designer. It can involve user studies to see how people interact with your current website and maybe even prototypes of the different design options your web design company presents.
It can also require hiring a photographer and will usually involve some custom graphic design.
All of these things take time and cost money, but will bring you closer to building a website for your law firm that does the job.
That job may be to convince potential referrals to entrust you with a case they hope will result in nice settlement—and referral fee.
The website may need to communicate why you are the law firm the visitor should choose over the dozens of other options on Google (trust me, people are clicking around and looking at several attorney websites before contacting a lawyer).
The website may serve as a publishing hub for your web content. If your law firm aims to become a thought leader in an industry, this is a critical consideration when making design choices and a template is almost never going to accomplish what you need.
How much does a law firm website cost if you need a custom layout? It depends whether it will be a hand-coded website, if it will be built with a visual page builder, and the CMS you choose. Our custom-layout law firm websites cost $2800+.
So what’s the difference between a “hand-coded” website and one built with a visual pagebuilder?
Custom Coded Websites
These are typically custom themes that are coded by a developer for your website. The cost of custom-coded WordPress themes typically range from around $5,000 to $15,000, but often can range as high as as $25,000 to $50,000.
This option will typically result in a website with much leaner code and in theory, should load more quickly than a website built with a visual page builder. In practice, a good developer can get a law firm website built with a visual page builder to load quickly if he knows what he’s doing.
I shot a popular video on YouTube that shows me reducing the server response time by installing a free plugin. We know how to get law firm websites built with visual page builders to load quickly.
Other than the higher cost of a custom theme, the other drawback to this option is that you’ll typically need a developer to make visual edits other than changing text content.
Websites Built With Visual Page Builders
Today there are several popular drag and drop visual page builders that greatly reduce development time and cost.
They work just as I described—you drag and drop elements on the screen.
The most popular of these visual page builders for WordPress is Elementor, with WordPress using it as of Spring 2020. Click this link to see a demo of how Elementor works.
There are several other visual page builders commonly used to build websites for law firms, including WP Bakery, Divi, and Beaver Builder.
The main benefits of using a visual page builder is the decreased development time/lower cost to build, as well as the ease with which your law firm will be able to make edits. As illustrated in this video, editing a website built with a visual page builder requires much less technical skill than editing a custom theme.
The main drawback to using these page builders is the additional code they add to the website. Some builders, such as Divi and WP Bakery, are shortcode-based, so if you ever deactivate them, the page will be loaded with shortcodes that will have to be deleted (this is not an issue with Elementor, which is one of the reasons we use it to build our WordPress websites).
Developers often criticize websites built with a page builder as being slow to load, but with proper optimizations, they can load as quickly as a custom coded theme.
A typical 7-page custom layout website built with a visual page builder usually costs $3500-$7500, with one survey showing an average price of $6,183, but that can vary quite a bit depending on the reputation and talent of the law firm web design agency working on it.
How Much Does it Cost to Add Chat?
Many law firms use chat on their websites. The cost of adding this feature is negligible if you go with one of the solutions on the market. Some are free, while other charge on a per-lead basis (which is great, since you won’t have to field the messages yourself).
How Much Does it Cost for Content for My Law Firm’s Website?
Many attorneys try to save money here, but that’s usually a mistake.
The effectiveness of the copywriting on your website will have a huge impact on your search engine rankings as well as the conversion rate of your website.
This is a one-two punch of getting in front of potential clients and convincing them you are the lawyer they should hire. It’s something that really should be left to the professionals.
So, How Much Does a Law Firm Website Cost?
Depending on what you need, your law firm’s website cost is likely to fall into one of these ranges:
- ~$1000 for a customized WordPress Template
- $2500-$5000 for a custom layout built with a visual page builder in WordPress
- $5000-$10000 for a custom theme built in WordPress
- A monthly fee of a $99-$299 for the life of your firm
I hope this guide was helpful. I wish you good luck in building your new website, and if you’d like to see some of our past work and potentially discuss having Sagapixel build your law firm’s new website, you can view our law firm web design portfolio by clicking on the link.